I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert when it comes to book promotion sites.

When I published my first three novels simultaneously on December 10th 2015a day that will live infamy, and yes, I know now that it was a harebrained marketing schemeI knew nothing about book promo sites. In fact, it’s fair to say I was against the idea of paying any service to promote my books. If you publish, they will come. Right?

Well, not exactly.

 

The Few I’ve Tried

Cut to a few years later, and I’ve had experience with several promotional services. My most recent major investment, to promote Whizzers, led to a result that was middling at best. I would not use the service again, but am loathe to name them, for obvious reasons.

However, I’ve also made smaller investments in a few other services, with varying results. Here’s what I’ve experienced thus far:

1) Genius Link – For a very low price point (monthly plans as low as $9), you can get a customized link to your Amazon book page and/or other online retailers. Genius Link has been a mixed bag for me, though overall I’d say I’m satisfied. Certainly it’s garnered a lot of clicks in many places as I’ve promoted it.

The problem? It’s difficult-if-not-impossible to determine whether or not any of those clicks lead to conversions. And while my Amazon link has gotten nearly 7,000 clicks, the link that includes all the other retailers barely ever registered at all. I’m sticking with Genius Link for now, but at some point I think the clock will be ticking on it.

2) Circle of Books – A very different strategy than Genius Link, Circle of Books creates a custom book page for the author. The service I got includes tweets from their account with a link to their page, hashtags, and so on, for a three-month period.

Pros: the page looks all right, and includes share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit & Tumblrthe last two of which I don’t visit at all. Which could give me some great exposure, except…

Cons: in the time I’ve used Circle of Books, there’s no evidence I’ve gotten any book sales from it. Their tweets sometimes get shared by some of my followers after I have shared them, but that’s not what I would ideally want to get. So, they seem like a nice enough service, but not worth reinvesting in again..at least not for me.

3) Bargain Booksy – This last entry is only here because I wanted to announce the campaign today on the blog. I’ve just tried this service, and the Whizzers feature launched yesterday. It seems to have generated a nice spike in sales of the Kindle version, so I’ll see how that translates. Too early to tell, but Bargain Booksywhich is part of the Written Word Media suite of servicesjust might be the winner.

 

Other Options

Of course there are a million of these things, and I’m sure they run the gamut from expensive-but-worth-it promo services to total scams (or just worthless “nice try” opportunities).

I’m always open to checking out things that should work, but very skeptical unless I’ve got real data that I can use to determine whether or not to invest. And just as with other investments, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

What about you? Are you an author who’s tried promo services? Have they worked well? Have they tanked? I’d love to hear from my fellow authors and get their recommendations, or warnings, in the comments below.

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